The Paris of Central America

Nicaragua Is The Paris of Central America

Harry and I are rocking slowly, back and forth, in big wicker chairs…answering e-mails and preparing this letter to you…

Before us is a small waterfall, flowing over the edge of a swimming pool surrounded by palm trees and red-flowering plants. We hear the sound of the water falling…the sound of music out in the street…the sound of children calling to each other…of birds chirping all around…an ice-cream vendor ringing his bell…

We have wireless Internet. Flor de Cana rum and Coke. No ice…but, hey, we’re not ones to complain.

It rained briefly a little while ago. Otherwise, the sun shone bright all day, despite the season. After our meetings this morning, Harry and I wandered through Granada. And I took a bold position with my young marketing manager:

“This is the Paris of Central America,” I told him.

Harry had little choice but to agree. You, dear reader, may be skeptical. And, indeed, this is not France. There are no high-speed trains. Nicaragua doesn’t have the world’s best health care. There’s no opera. There’s no Seine.

There is, however, a lake, at the end of what is now a stone-paved thoroughfare lined with shops and cafes with tables and chairs out front where you could enjoy a glass of late-afternoon wine.

Granada, Nicaragua, now is home to outdoor cafes, small galleries and museums, souvenir hawkers, and lots of tourists.

Just like Paris.

OK, OK…the metaphor is a stretch. But Paris is a city for romantics. And so is Granada.

Walking from the property, where we’re staying these two nights, to the center of town this morning, I was struck by the simple, timeless beauty of this place. On this point, I exaggerate not at all.

The centuries-old church steeples, white and gold and pale blue against the deep blue sky…the red-tiled roofs…the bell towers…the long, wide boulevard…

Paris is special because it’s lovely without peer.

Granada is lovely without peer in these parts.

Paris is special because you need only, at any moment, step outside your door to be treated to delightful sounds and sights and smells…to pass impressive architecture, well-tended parks, and tempting window displays.

Just like in Granada. Step out onto any street, at any time of day, and something interesting is going on. There’s something pleasing to look at. Something tempting you to linger and to investigate.

Paris is special because it’s a city made for walking. A car is a liability. And why would you want to drive anyway? You’d miss the chance to be part of Paris street life.

Just like in Granada.

Granada, Nicaragua, is Paris, France, without the twice-daily street-cleaning and the every-10-years mandatory building facade refurbishment.

My sentimental side is showing. I blame this town.

Come see for yourself. Granada, with its many colonial churches and many more colonial houses, many now carefully restored, will bring out the romantic in you, too.

Kathleen Peddicord